The TV Times Feature on Kendo as a Healer...
The text of the article is reproduced below...
"Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde had nothing on the man who calls himself Kendo Nagasaki. He sits at home in Wolverhampton, a sheathed dagger in the inglenook, War Illustrated on the bookshelves - and three Bibles about the room. A stream of Sunday patients pay testimony to the healing power of his hands, his gentleness and the hypnotic powers he used to induce relaxation. Elsewhere in England large men sit brooding over vengeance for the pain he has caused them in the ring. I have seen the face that usually hides behind the mask and heard the voice that is never heard in the wrestling ring. All I will say of the first is that it is strong featured and sensitive, and all I will say of the second is that it is soft and has a northern sound.
This unnatural reticence is due to two things: firstly, I respect his desire for anonymity and secondly, I do not wish to have my leg broken in three places. He steps into the ring in full samurai warrior’s costume, complete with sword; his manager, Gorgeous George Gillette, wearing a red velvet cat-suit and jewellery, prances, dances and introduces. They then both proceed to get up everybody’s nose. The wrestling world is made up of professional heroes and villains; those who fight clean and those who suffer from selective amnesia of the rules. Nagasaki - Mr. Nagasaki to me - inspires such a complex mixture of hatred and fascination that when Belle Vue ran a poll to discover who was the most hated and who was the most popular wrestler, he came first in both categories.
Kendo sits, his head shaved save for a braided pigtail, a samurai sign tattooed on the crown, and reveals a personality that can best be described in the terms that Churchill used about Russia - “a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.” He does not wish to discuss his background, reluctantly admits that it was rural, concedes that his voice indicates it was northern. He says that he has “detached” himself from all that, preferred to bury it. But he does see his family occasionally and in a silver frame on an occasional table, a plump, elderly couple beam at each other on a sunlit day in front of a modern bungalow. He is a Black Belt Judo of the Sixth Dan and claims to have studied karate, akido and, of course, kendo, which is the martial art of the samurai and explains his first adopted name.
He has never claimed to be Japanese, never claimed to be anything. The second name has a more complicated origin. He explains: “A long time ago I was studying with a Japanese gentleman who taught me about meditation, a form of deep self-hypnosis. In this trance state - as I interpret it - I contacted the spirit of a samurai warrior who, 300 years ago, lived in the place that is now called Nagasaki.” The phrase “as I interpret it” disarms scepticism, leaves room for the non-believer in spirits from beyond. “It is” he says, “an inner feeling. It is difficult to say whether it comes from the outside or from within. If I were adamantly to say it was a spirit that contacted me...” He leaves the sentence unfinished, but goes on: “I feel it was a spirit, but there is always a question about these things. I try to analyse it from a scientific point of view, but I do deeply believe I was contacted. The thing is I always get answers to problems after I have meditated on them. There’s no speech as such between the samurai and me. It’s a directional thing. It is a very strong and powerful force.”
The healing side of the man is a mixture of the practical and the spiritual. The garage, adjoining the large white house in a salubrious suburb of Wolverhampton, is deeply carpeted and fitted with a sauna cabinet, thermo-pool, infra-red equipment over a stretcher table and several thousand pounds worth of electrical equipment. He studied osteopathy and electro-therapy in America when he went out there to wrestle. “The faith healing only comes at the patient’s request after a “patient-healer” relationship has been established."
Mr. Leslie Bailey, aged 65, retired office worker, a local man, says he has suffered from excruciating back pain since 1968. He had been to doctors who, he says, had not helped. When he heard of Mr. Nagasaki’s power he was glad to go to him because “a wrestler is a man who knows what pain is and exactly where it is. Doctors know in theory but have not usually suffered it themselves.” At first his treatment was physical and it helped. But he has also had two sessions of what he calls “faith healing” which has helped more. “I was very sceptical about meditation,” said Mr. Bailey. “I didn’t think it could do anything for me. But he puts me into a trance state and I relax and it takes the tension out of the body.” No gongs? No incense? No oriental mumbo-jumbo? “Now that would not be very relaxing for the patients, would it ?” says Nagasaki.
He himself is of no definable faith. He likes Bibles. “They are full of character,” he said. “I’m not Christian-type religious but I do believe in influences. Everybody interprets this feeling in the way they want to. I don’t deny the Christian feeling but it works just as well with Buddism or anything else. Some of the patients are very religious people in the Christian sense. They talk to me about Jesus and things like that and I think they think I put them in touch with a spiritual feeling.” When I was there, so, too, was Mrs. Bertha Barr, who had come all the way from Mitcham, Surrey. She is more of what you would expect, a reader of Psychic News. She has had osteo-arthritis for 30 years, has been to doctors, hospitals and Harley Street. “He has freed me from pain,” she says simply. There are those who would testify to the opposite experience. The mask strikes terror in the wrestling ring; the man inflicts pain.
“It’s a personality thing,” he says. “There are two sides to me - two sides to everybody. But this is my way of releasing one of them. I wear the mask because when I’m like that I don’t want people to see what I look like. Do I enjoy being the villain in the ring ?” He considered the question. “I suppose I do really. It seems to be part of my character. It’s all the pent up goody-goodyness inside that suddenly escapes when I put on the mask.” He thinks about it dispassionately, as if he were examining his other self, the stranger. “It must be a great release,” he says at last, “to think that there are no rules, even if there are supposed to be.” He thinks again and says: “No, I don’t break the rules. I suppose I’m robust. I always try to stir up my opponent so that he tries that much harder. Stick an elbow into a rib where I really shouldn’t ought to - that kind of thing. You get two goodies wrestling and it turns into a roly-poly sort of a match. Yes, my blood boils lots of times but it’s not something I carry with me to any extent once I’ve left the ring. That is, unless I had sustained a bad injury. Then I come home and think ‘I’ll have him next time.’"
Among the people he thinks he will “have” next time are wrestlers rejoicing in the names of The Mighty Haystack and Big Daddy, closely followed by Count Bartelli and Steve Viedor. He has had many an injury, once fought-on to a draw for six rounds with two ribs broken. He knew that if he lost he would have to obey the ring convention that insists a masked wrestler must remove his mask once he is defeated. “I would have retired,” he said, “but I had so much at stake I couldn’t. I’m not ready for the unmasking yet. Probably one day when I feel fully mature I’ll take off the mask. But I don’t feel I have reached complete fulfilment. What do I mean by maturity? I mean spiritual maturity. When I reach that I will be ready to face the general public. At the moment I feel I’m not ready.”
At the moment he can put a hat on and go for a walk and all people will see is a big man, more than 6ft tall, weighing 15 well-distributed stones. All the usual relaxations of the man of action mean little to him; he would rather sit at home and meditate or study. “To heal people or to study ways of healing people, that’s my pleasure,” he said. “I suppose I’m a recluse really.”"